THE Gold Coast may have missed Migaloo, the famous white whale, with experts believing he may have travelled past the city under the cover of darkness this morning.
The bad news came at about 6pm last night when the male humpback was spotted in fading light off Byron Bay, about 90km south of the Glitter Strip.
Sea World marine science director Trevor Long said he estimated the whale had swum north past the Gold Coast at 4am today.
Mr Long said earlier today he could now be off North Stradbroke Island.
"(Migaloo's) been travelling at about three to four knots (7km/h) since he was first spotted off Port Macquarie (470km south of the city)," he said.
"He was spotted off Byron at about 6pm yesterday.
"So he was probably off the Gold Coast Seaway at about 4am this morning."
Mr Long said Migaloo may be spotted on its annual return trip to the Southern Ocean later this year.
"We might see him on the way back."
Last year Migaloo travelled past the Gold Coast on July 26 and there was conjecture about whether the whale was Migaloo or a younger white whale.
This humpback migration season about 27,000 whales are expected to travel from cooler southern waters past the Gold Coast to the tropics and back until November.